UPDATE 1 – Ryanair posts record Christmas quarter, sees ‘very robust’ summer demand


Q3 profit of record-breaking EUR 211m


No sign of recession – CFO


Strong dollar, travel to Asia to boost demand

(Adds details from explanation, background, quotes from CFO and analyst)

By Conor Humphries

DUBLIN, Jan 30 (Reuters) – Ryanair on Monday reported its biggest after-tax profit for the October-December quarter and said bookings for Easter and summer flights had been “very robust” in recent weeks, boosted by demand from Asia Traveler and a strong US Dollar.

“Bookings are showing no signs of a recession right now,” Chief Financial Officer Neil Sorahan told Reuters.

“We had record bookings in the second and third week of January, very robust demand up to Easter and the summer with no tariff stimulus,” he said.

The Irish carrier, Europe’s largest by passenger numbers, said it had earned 211 million euros ($229.40 million) in the three months ended December 31, the third quarter of its financial year.

The earnings figures compared a forecast of €200 million in a company survey of analysts and their previous record €106 million in the last three months of 2017.

Ryanair reiterated its forecast of profit after tax of between 1.325 billion and 1.425 billion euros for the year to 31 March. Sorahan said he was “very pleased” with that range.

He declined to comment on whether airfares are likely to rise by a high single-digit percentage next summer, saying only that he was “encouraged by bookings at this point”.

The airline raised a previous forecast of 1 billion to 1.2 billion euros in January, citing pent-up demand for travel after the global lifting of COVID-19 lockdowns.

“With Asian tourists returning and a strong U.S. dollar encouraging Americans to explore Europe, we see robust demand,” Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary said in a statement.

The weakness in demand in the UK, which was reported in early January, has disappeared and may be due to transport strikes in the country, O’Leary said in a video presentation.

Last week, rivals Wizz Air and EasyJet reported strong summer bookings.

Ryanair, which unlike many airlines has kept its pilots and crew updated on their flight hours during the pandemic to capitalize on the rapid recovery, flew a record 38.4 million passengers in the last three months of 2022.

Its market share rose to 40% in Italy from 26% before the COVID-19 pandemic and from 27% to 38% in Poland, Monday’s earnings release said.

“We view the Easter and summer booking commentary as positive for shares,” Citi analyst Sathish Sivakumar said in a note.

Ryanair expects to fly 168 million passengers in the year to March 31, well above the previous annual record of 149 million set before the pandemic shut down the travel industry.

Passenger numbers are expected to reach 185 million in the next fiscal year, O’Leary said.

($1 = €0.9198) (Writing by Conor Humphries; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)